Using Twitter for Distributed Fundraising

charity: water - Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 (Build 20081201061100)There’s been a lot of talk about what Twitter’s own monetization model will turn out to be – even though Twitter itself has been mum on the subject beyond saying that they do have a plan. But meanwhile, some of the communities on Twitter have taken matters into their own hands, and proven that money can flow into good causes based on the social capital that Twitter users build up in just chatting with one another. Whatever else you say about Twitter, it does seem to be bringing out the best in people and opening their wallets.

The most recent of these campaigns that I’ve run across is Well Wishes, an effort by prominent Twitter user Laura “Pistachio” Fitton to raise $25,000 for Charity: Water, two bucks at a time. She’s lined up some matching donations and hooked up with Tipjoy to handle micropayments; if you’re on Twitter, you can get involved simply by tweeting. So far, Well Wishes has raised thousands of dollars in this way.

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Twitpay Monetizes Twitter

Twitpay!A new service built on top of Twitter by a third party, Twitpay is interesting both in its own right and as an example of the way the Twitter ecosystem continues to grow. You may remember a number of attempts to launch micropayment services a few years back – none of which ever got much traction. Well, Twitpay layers a micropayment service on top of Twitter.
Here’s how it works: if you want to send someone money, you format a tweet using the “twitpay” keyword, as in “@mikeg1 twitpay $1 for useful writing” (that’s just an example; you shouldn’t actually be testing by sending me the odd dollar). Twitpay monitors the public tweetstream for these messages, and tracks who owes who money. When you start sending money to people, you go over to the Twitpay site and fund your account via paypal. When you’re owed $10 or more, you can take it out in Amazon gift cards or charity payments.
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